Daily Archives: April 19, 2018

Now it gets interesting…

Arizona Educators United (AEU) and the Arizona Education Association (AEA) just announced Arizona teachers have made the decision to strike. They reported that  57,000 of the state’s 60,000 teachers cast ballots with 78 percent voting for the walk out. When asked about timing, AEU leader Noah Karvelis said they wanted to give communities time to prepare, but would begin the walk out next Thursday.

When asked about the teacher’s demands, AEA President Joe Thomas referred to the two letters the groups have hand-delivered to Governor Ducey’s office (to which they’ve received no response), and said that they will definitely demand no tax cuts this year. He said it is time to start reinvesting in our schools and our state.

At least a third of our teachers were at my school board meeting tonight, and several of them spoke during the call to the public. They were respectful, realistic and real. One of the teachers talked about all the things she buys for her classroom and her students. She mentioned the items decorating her classroom walls, the snacks the students eat before they go out to recess and the tissues they use to blow their noses. She said it is a slap in the face to allow teachers a small tax credit so they can go out and buy their own supplies.

I agree. As former Vice-President Joe Biden said, “Don’t tell me what you value, show me your budget.” That’s really the bottom line. Until Governor Ducey and our Legislature finds a dedicated funding stream, to adequately fund our district schools and their professional educators and staff, they are telling our teachers, our parents and worst of all…our students, that they aren’t the priority.

We have even more turbulent days ahead and I hope calmer heads will prevail and allow us to find the best solution that will lead to much brighter days for Arizona district schools. I predict though, that if all the efforts of education advocates and teachers (including the walk out) doesn’t get the job done, the voters will finish the work in November!

Authoritarian Tea-Publicans call for the prosecution of the political enemies of ‘Dear Leader’ Donald Trump (Updated)

Like the fog in the famous, ultra-short poem by the U.S. person Carl Sandburg, fascism may well come in “on little cat feet.”

The crypto-fascist Tea-Publican members of the GOP House Freedom Caucus are calling for the criminal prosecution of the political enemies of their “Dear Leader,” Donald Trump. This is what occurs in tin-pot dictatorships and  authoritarian banana republics.

Matthew Yglesias reports, 11 House Republicans call for prosecutions of Clinton, Comey, Lynch, and others The authoritarianism is coming from inside the House:

Eleven House Republicans — Ron DeSantis, Andy Biggs, Dave Brat, Jeff Duncan, Matt Gaetz, Paul Gosar, Andy Harris, Jody Hice, Todd Rokita, Claudia Tenney, and Ted Yoho — have signed a joint letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions calling for the criminal prosecution of Hillary Clinton and a variety of other Obama administration appointees, career FBI officials, and even Trump appointee Dana Boente, who is currently the FBI’s general counsel.

Arizona Reps. Paul Gosar and Andy Biggs have always been unfit to serve in any political office, and Arizona voters have both a moral and patriotic duty to remove these fringe radical extremists from office. These sorry excuses for a human being are a disgrace and an embarrassment to this state. As The Arizona Republic editorialized earlier this year, Our View: Rep. Paul Gosar is a disgrace to Arizona. Somebody please unseat him. The same goes for Andy Biggs.

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Tea-Publicans are trying to change the vacancy in office law to protect Senator John McCain’s seat

Tea-Publicans in the Arizona legislature are trying to change the long-established law on vacancies occurring in office for U.S. Senate in the event that Senator John McCain steps down or dies early, triggering a special election for his Senate seat this year.

The Arizona Capitol Times reports Arizona Senate moves to change rules for replacing McCain:

The Republican-controlled Arizona Legislature is moving to ensure that ailing Sen. John McCain’s seat isn’t on the November ballot if he leaves office, but Democrats plan to block the effort.

The effort emerged Tuesday as the state Senate put an emergency clause on a bill, HB 2538, changing how members of Congress who die or resign are replaced.

U.S. Senate vacancies are filled by a governor’s appointee, with the seat on the next general election ballot. The secretary of state has interpreted that to mean that if McCain’s seat is vacated by May 31, it would be on the August primary and November general election ballot. The new proposal changes that to 150 days before the primary, or March 31 of this year. That takes McCain’s seat out of play.

McCain was diagnosed with brain cancer last summer and has been recovering in Arizona since before Christmas. He was hospitalized over the weekend for intestinal surgery needed to stem an infection and remains in a Phoenix hospital in stable condition.

The emergency clause requires a two-thirds vote, and Democratic Sen. Steve Farley said that won’t happen.

“They’re trying to make it really easy to appoint someone to two and a half years without an election to a U.S. Senate seat should the current holder of that Senate seat resign or no longer be able to hold office,” Farley said. “The thing is, we’re all going to vote against it as Democrats, so they won’t get their emergency. It’s silly for them to put it on and think we won’t notice.”

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Gov. Ducey’s teacher pay plan is unsustainable, teacher walkout appears likely (Updated)

Calling the governor’s plan not fiscally sustainable, the Arizona PTA has withdrawn its backing for Gov. Doug Ducey’s teacher pay hike plan. PTA group withdraws support from Ducey’s teacher pay hike plan:

Beth Simek, the organization’s president, told Capitol Media Services this afternoon that her own research shows there is no way Ducey can finance both the pay raise and restoration of capital funding without cutting the budget for other needed programs. And Simek said she believes some of what the governor plans to slice could end up hurting the very children her organization is working to protect.

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Simek said that she was not given all the relevant information about how Ducey plans to finance his plan when the governor first asked for support. So, what she did was strike out on her own and gather as much in specifics as she could from various other sources, including other state agencies.

Most crucial, she said, are the cuts being made elsewhere in the budget.

For example, Simek said, Ducey’s plan cuts $2.9 million that had been allocated for skilled nursing services in both the state Medicaid program and the Department of Economic Security. Also gone is $1.8 million aid for “critical access hospitals” and $4 million that the governor had proposed in additional dollars for the developmentally disabled.

“We can’t support that,” Simek said. “That hurts kids and it hurts families.”

The governor’s plan also cuts back $2 million in arts funding, which arts advocates say would decimate grants that fund programs that benefit pupils.

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Action Alert: Ducey’s school safety plan gets a committee hearing today

Governor Ducey’s so-called “school safety plan” will get its first hearing today in the Senate Commerce and Public Safety Committee, scheduled for 10:00 a.m. in Senate Hearing Room 1.

Senate Bill 1519 “protective orders; schools; appropriations” is sponsored by Sen. Steve Smith.

Arizona Senate to hold school safety plan hearing:

The proposal Ducey rolled out in mid-March had major opposition from some majority Republicans because it allows guns to be removed from people considered dangerous. More changes are likely to address that issue.

Ducey’s plan also includes more school resource officers and school mental health spending.

Democrats want universal background checks on gun purchases and aren’t backing the plan. That leaves the governor seeking support from Republican guns-rights backers and the proposal has been substantially watered-down.

If you have signed up for request to speak, be sure to post your comments on the bill and amendments to be offered. Plan to attend the hearing in person if you can.